Ground Ladder Questions
Our dept. is in a small town of 2,500. Mostly single family residences, single story, a few older two story homes. We've got a new development started on the south end of town...golf course, club house, big homes, townhouses, etc.
The odds are some of these homes will be three stories high. I haven't confirmed this yet but the townhouses may be three stories as well. We have laddering capabilities for two stories. My question is this. How high should I go with ground ladder capabilities before demanding an aerial unit? How long of a ladder should we go with for three story ops? How many people should it take to effectively set one of them? If we get development over three stories in the future I'll need to consider creating an ordinance requiring the developers to provide aerial capabilities, maybe carrying out his reimbursement from the next three or four developments. Has anyone done this before? How did it go?
Lots of questions, give me some answers...please.
Be Safe, Frank
35' extension ladders thrown w/ two guys should be sufficient for entry/exit/rescue from 3rd floor windows. As for working on the roof, it is definitely safer to have an aerial that can move a lot faster and easier than two guys pulling down a 35 footer and moving it. So, it isn't impossible w/out an aerial, but it would be a lot safer.
A couple of questions to consider:
1. You mention your a population of about 2500. That being the case, what is your manpower situation? Can it support devoting 2 - 3 FF's to set and move 35' ladders? I realize laddering is a constant regardless of single story ranch or 3 story townhouse, but there is a work load difference in setting/moving fully extended 35 footers vs. laddering a single story residence. An aerial can be set, moved, set again, etc by 1 person and a handful of levers.
2. What's the terrain we are looking at for this complex? Is it possible that although engineered to be 3 story homes, once the ground is broken an leveled, etc some of them end up being 4 on a side or two due to being built into a hillside. We currently have this exact situation where you pull up to the address, looks like a 2 - 3 story on one side until you get around to the back and see almost 4! Now keep in mind these are townhomes with parking areas so aerial access to the rear is feasible.
3. What is the rest of town? You mention mostly single story SFD's but do you have anything else that is border line such as a business district, etc? Combine the existing border line structures with this new complex and you may have your justification for an aerial.
4. What is your mutual aid situation? Is there an aerial next town over that can be on automatic dispatch for any incident in this new complex?
5. What is your current apparatus? Is any of it do for replacement in the near future? If so you could consider replacing an engine with a quint (or something similar) however if you have no plans of replacement in the near future, then it may be a little harder to add on a new piece vs. replacing an older one.
Oh and one stupid question, can your firehouse accomodate an aerial or are you looking at another expense of renovations or an addition?
Hope these questions make a little sense and help you out.
To me it sound that you need to be looking into truck or look into a mutual aid truck to begin due in your district for this area. I can not tell you what the best to buy is because I do not have all the facts about you district.
What advise I can give is to start now. I was involved in a company who purchased their 1st 'truck' in 1995. It took a lot of work and time to decide what was best for the area. There are so many questions to be answered, what size ladder, what type stick or tower, do we want a pump...
(FFTrainer has very good points. As you can see there is much to consider.)
Best of luck!!
[This message has been edited by jizumper-5 (edited 05-31-2001).]
I think you would be better off with the 35ft ladder... It seems every time we go to use our 100ft ladder truck we are too far away for it to do any good. Most of the time it's just as easy, and sometimes quicker to pull a ladder off the truck. Save some money, buy a extension ladder and mutial aid the truck if needed. Only my opinion of course!
Sounds like a truck company is needed right off the bat. Even with a 35' you're still looking at the need for a backup ladder. By the time the mutual aid truck gets there, where will you be able to put it and will it still be needed?
firetrucker, why are you too far away for a 100' to reach? are you the last in or are you stuck at the intersection?
As far as getting an aerial, being a small town, does your dept./town have the funding for one? I don't think the chances are good getting it from the developer (then again who knows). I agree with the ground ladder posts, get a 35 or even beter, a 42 with tormentors, and find a mutual aid truck co.
Unless you have other structures that would need an aerial, I think it would be a waste of money given how often it would be used.
As of fftrainer's concern of manpower for throwing the ladder. If they can't handle the time or manpower to throw a ladder, then they won't have the time or manpower to drive/setup/operate an aerial either.
[This message has been edited by ntvilleff (edited 05-31-2001).]
You can work a 3 story townhouse fire without a truck company, but a truck would be desirable. You can make the roof with a 35 foot ladder, but if you have one to the roof, you absolutely need a 2nd also for roof work. You would need a couple 28s for the third story, and a couple assorted shorter ladders (14, 16, 18, 20 roof ladders) for sloped roofs and to make the second floor. You can carry all of these without a ladder truck, but a ladder truck can carry all of these in addition to an elevated master stream.
[This message has been edited by MB1213635 (edited 06-01-2001).]
When it comes to ground ladders, as a rule of thumb you need approximately 10ft of ladder per floor. A third story roof is the same as the 4th floor therefore you need a 40ft ladder. This will also give you 5 rungs extended beyond the roof edge. The problem is that any ladder greater than 39ft long is required to have tormentor poles (Bangor Ladders). This requires a minimum of 6 firefighters to raise. If you don't have the manpower it does not matter if you have them or not, you will not use them. And as was already said, you need a second means of egress from the roof.
This is not a practical evolution for most departments due to manpower. You might be able to justify a small quint, but this takes money$$$ However, it might be the only way to effectively accomplish safe laddering.
Again, what do your mutual aid departments have to offer? If there is a ladder truck in the area you might be best served by calling them.
Good Luck, Be Safe
//You can make the roof with a 35 foot ladder, but if you have one to the roof, you absolutely need a 2nd also for roof work. You would need a couple 28s for the third story, and a couple assorted shorter ladders (14, 16, 18, 20 roof ladders) for sloped roofs and to make the second floor. You can get carry all of these without a ladder truck,
Wouldn't that depend on the spec writer of your apparatus? Our engines all bring two 35 footers, two 24 footers, two 14 footers and two 10 footers.
Ground ladders can reach all sides of the structure and are quicker to deploy.
***//You can make the roof with a 35 foot ladder, but if you have one to the roof, you absolutely need a 2nd also for roof work. You would need a couple 28s for the third story, and a couple assorted shorter ladders (14, 16, 18, 20 roof ladders) for sloped roofs and to make the second floor. You can carry all of these without a ladder truck,
Wouldn't that depend on the spec writer of your apparatus? Our engines all bring two 35 footers, two 24 footers, two 14 footers and two 10 footers.***
LHS, that's what I was saying. it is possible to bring all those ladders to the fireground, just depends on what kind of apparatus you have and how many pieces you typically bring.
[This message has been edited by MB1213635 (edited 06-01-2001).]
Great information fellows. Keep it coming. I've got a planning commission meeting next week. The first place to present this problem.
I'll probably angle towards height restriction covenants and upgrade our ground ladder capabilities, however I seriously need to plan and plant seeds politically for a future aerial unit. This kind of growth will feed on itself (or strangle me). The nearest Dept. with an elevated platform is 8 mi. away down a two lane road, a 102' model...jeez, I'll definitely have to preplan the road elevations, etc. in this project to be able to setup that monster. Then there's the value of getting it there last and being able to make it worthwhile
(I love this job). Our auto-aid dept's don't have elevated capabilities. I'll get with the Chief in Rogers and work out a response agreement for this development.
As for an ordinance requiring future large scale development to provide an aerial unit... I've "heard" of this happening, still looking for an actual example. But hell I'll give it a try anyway.